Essentially, MythTV is software that helps you turn your computer into a cable box, allowing you to record shows, use the Internet on your TV, and strip out commercials. This means no more cable and Tivo subscriptions and no rented or purchased cable and DVR boxes.
BitTorrent greatly quickens the process of downloading video content. Twenty million people have dowloaded it.
And, Videora is software that allows people to find the BitTorrent content that they want.
Indeed, a NBC Universal executive argues:
"...that the industry and the government have to move - fast - to establish rules by which copyrighted television programming 'cannot be moved around willy-nilly.'"
One controversial regulation has already been implemented by the FCC and is being actively fought in both court and at the grass roots level. Here's more from the Times' story:
One way to protect such content, according to the industry, is through the introduction of something called the broadcast flag. The Federal Communications Commission announced in the fall of 2003 that any digitally broadcast show must include an invisible antipiracy device.
This has not gone over well with viewers. Last October, nine nonprofit groups petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, arguing that the action oversteps the F.C.C.'s authority, making life more complicated for law-abiding home viewers while being "entirely ineffective at stopping any pirate."
At the grass roots, the response has been more direct: a rush to buy and even build television sets and DVD recorders that sidestep the ruling. Home consumer devices, from digital televisions to DVD recorders, sold before July 1 do not have to recognize the broadcast flag. So the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties organization (and one of the nine petitioners), has decided to set up what it is calling the Television Digital Liberation Front. Starting last July 29, it began holding the first of a planned series of nationwide "buildathons" to help novices build home-brew digital televisions and DVR's based on systems like the perfectly legal MythTV software.
While it would be easy to compare this trend to the "Napsterization" of music in the late-'90s, you do have to acknoledge that, at the very least, the collective TV industry has adapted relatively quickly to new digital trends. If Tivo dies, it won't because the TV industry tried to kill the company. Networks figured out that selling DVDs of programs would be a boon. And, video-on-demand is a useful tool for the many millions of people not willing to build their own TV and cable box.
Still, as a front-page Wall Street Journal story notes this week, there's danger signs the a big content industry could, once again, cut off their nose to spite their face:
On-demand television, introduced by most cable-TV operators in the past three years, is potentially a revolutionary technology. It allows viewers to order programs, choosing from a menu listed on screen, any time they want -- much as people download information from the Internet. Cable companies are offering thousands of hours of on-demand programming, much of it for no extra charge beyond a monthly digital-cable bill....
...Comcast is at loggerheads with networks and others who own some of the most popular television programming. Those program owners are uneasy with the new technology and have resisted providing on-demand content on Comcast's terms.
After reading today's New York Times, We'd say that Comcast might be gaining negotiation leverage.